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Creating an Effective SAP® S/4HANA Data Migration Strategy

Many companies are ready to invest in a digital transformation and S/4HANA provides a platform which allows companies to integrate and capitalize on their new opportunities with big data, analytics and IoT, and other artificial intelligence technology. Pivotal to making the S/4HANA platform the beginning of your digital transformation is making sure that your data migration strategy is comprehensive. A comprehensive data migration strategy for S/4HANA is important because there is no single path to data success, particularly given the emerging nature of the technology and the relatively limited number of qualified resources who have significant S/4HANA data migration experience.

Data Migration Process

Data migration in an S/4HANA transformation needs to be treated and planned differently the data migration for ERP implementations in the past the approach has evolved. The data migration process is different from any previous SAP ECC data migration projects. Also, the data migration strategies do vary drastically between the cloud and on-premise editions for S/4HANA because of implementation requirements. Leveraging SAP’s accelerators and best practices will be a very useful way to improve your chances of a successful implementation.

Important Elements of a Data Migration Strategy

To have a clear path to migrate your data into S/4HANA there are a few important things to consider, including:

  • Determining how to fit your data migration plan to an agile approach with the new SAP’s activate methodology.
  • Identifying how to effectively use the SAP accelerators in the new Activate Methodology which replaces Business Requirement Documents (BRDs) and Technical Requirements Documents (TRDs).
  • Selecting and identifying migration tools for different business objects from the list of SAP’s best practices for on-premise and cloud implementations.
  • Identifying the best course of migration simulation loads or practice loads, if you have only a single non-production client on cloud implementations.
  • Designing and building the process for data extraction and transformation from SAP and non-SAP legacy system, before loading via the migration templates using migration cockpit.
  • Planning and executing the customer/vendor integration, if your version needs customers and vendors to be converted into business partners.
  • Qualifying the data to be migrated and the data reconciliation process
  • Establishing a good data governance process, especially if there is not a current process in place, will also be a key going forward.

Data Migration Strategy for S/4HANA in a New Implementation

The data migration strategy for a new S/4HANA implementation (greenfield) can be relatively complex. Clients who are migrating from a non-SAP ERP system or from an SAP ECC system can implement a fresh new S/4HANA system and migrate the master and transactional data from the legacy system using S/4HANA’s standard migration tools and practices.

Data Migration Strategy for S/4HANA in a System Conversion

Often called the lift and shift method, determining the data migration strategy for a system conversion into S/4HANA (brownfield), is critically important.  Generally, companies who want to change from their current SAP ERP system to SAP S/4HANA can use the Software Update Manager (SUM). If the legacy ERP system is not on a HANA database, the company could use the Database Migration Option (DMO).

Data Migration Strategy for Landscape Transformation (SAP LT):

Companies who want to consolidate their multiple regional SAP ERP landscapes into one global SAP S/4HANA system or who want to carve out selected entities or processes into an existing SAP S/4HANA system, should use the SAP Landscape Transformation (SAP LT) as the path to S/4HANA migration.

Designing a data migration strategy and solution for S/4HANA can vary a lot from one company to the next. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for this, it must be planned and executed carefully. If used effectively, Migration Cockpit, Migration Object Modeler, and Rapid Data Migration are some of the best practices and accelerators available to speed up your data migration process. However, additional planning and design work will be required across implementation types and objects.  More due diligence will be required to design the full solution for your data migration needs, based on a company’s requirements and processes.

Contact us for more information and best practices on data migration for SAP S/4HANA.

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Tags: SAP, SAP S/4HANA, Data Strategy
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